iPad Pro instead of a laptop: my first months

Inspired by this blog by Charles Arthur, I want to do my own write-up. After all, I bought my iPad Pro instead of buying a new laptop. So does it work for me?

Working so far

As I work in a public institution of education four days of my working week, those four days I’m confined to a Windows 10 laptop with a mediocre screen and crappy apps at best. Compared to that (and to be honest also to my good old iMac, which still serves me well after baking the graphic card in the oven last Autumn), my iPad Pro is a joy to use. It’s blazing fast, it responds well, the screen is amazing and the speakers sounds pretty good too.

Using the iPad Pro has been contained to experimenting with work setups. I’ve been a bit lazy in finding out clever ways to use it to its fullest. In the above link, the writer talks about using Workflow (which I’ve dabbled in a little), bookmarks and Python scripts (ehm, okay, you lost me there, I need to learn that stuff) to compile blog posts etc. I’ve been a bit bad when it comes to blogging so far in 2018, even on my Turin Brakes fansite. But I’ve blogged a lot on my iPad Pro, using the Logitech Slim Combo, which is great apart from the fact that sometimes it prevents my iPad from charging. This is clearly an annoying bug that needs to be fixed in iOS. Unless it’s the keyboard, which would be very annoying. I haven’t contacted Logitech support yet.

Besides blogging, I’ve been experimenting with Apple Pencil, but any experiment looks ridiculous compared to the stuff my girlfriend has been drawing in Procreate. The battery does need charging quite a lot though with such heavy use. I’ve also did some potential podcast recording with the new USB-C-Lightning-Adapter, my USB-microphone and Ferrite. I want to do this more in the coming months, and see whether I can cook up an actual podcast on this tablet. Recording guests might require additional input support which iOS lacks right now, but who knows, there might be an audio interface out there I can hook up the USB-adapter and then channel into Ferrite? It isn’t the most magical solution, but I’ll look into it.

Also, I love, love, love the camera and taking pictures of things in my house with the iPad Pro. I, in fact, love the camera with the huge screen that shows a preview sooo much that I would almost not mind the social shaming of taking pictures with a tablet. Since the camera in my iPad is, in fact, better than the one in my iPhone, it would almost make sense to do it. Almost, I’m just not ready to be a tourist with a 12.9 inch tablet in his bag. Yet.

Favourite apps

  • Writing: I quite like Bear Notes for, uhm, notes and lists. For longer form I’ve tried Ulysses, which was nice, but haven’t purchased it yet. Word feels a bit useless, at least when someone sends you an Office 365 document link, it will not open in Word, even when you try to edit it. And in the browser I got an error that it was too big to be edited.
  • Mail: Apple Mail app is clean, but also a bit useless for advanced users. Alternating between Airmail and Gmail app. Not sure yet which I prefer. I really enjoy using Airmail on macOS though.
  • Recording: Ferrite is nice so far, Garageband too but feels too focused on music.
  • Twitter: Tweetbot’s iPad interface feel so much more “pro” than Twitter’s native app. I’ve grown quite used to Twitter’s non-chronological view, which Tweetbot’s app doesn’t use. But Tweetbot on iPad makes much better use of the screen.
  • Other: Procreate for creative stuff. 1Password is ideal to use alongside Safari, as well as any note taking apps.

Needs improvement

  • I don’t like the WordPress app editor, and using the WordPress.org writing screen in Safari will get you frustrated in no-time with the cursor jumping all over when editing text. This definitely needs work. For now I prefer to write in other apps, then publish in WordPress. Putting the screenshots above next to each other proves to be impossible for me.
  • Twitter iPad app could use some extra tricks.
  • Some gestures still feel a bit weird for me. This might just mean I need more time with them. Love swiping up for the app switcher and control panel though.
  • As mentioned above, using the smart connector with a Logitech Slim Combo stops my iPad Pro from charging. This is, quite clearly, annoying and needs a fix.
  • If I ever want to get a really complex podcast show on the road, the iPad Pro in its current state might not suffice. But right now, for experimenting it definitely works.

Needs research

  • Website work – apart from the odd WordPress edit… Mostly I’ve done this on the good old iMac, it’s so far more convenient. But this is mainly habit and getting used to different ways of working. I’m open to researching this more in the future.


Using the iPad Pro makes me happy. It has a lot of potential that I have not explored yet, and hope to explore in the near future. I’ll report back here in a while again.

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